‘Current Conversations’ seminar tackles hot-button issues through Christian perspective

LU Serve hosted the Current Conversations event for Liberty University students Feb. 7-8 to discuss what it looks like to be a Christian in walking through the difficult topics of life and to strive toward loving others.

Speakers shared their insights about modern-day topics — including race, sexuality and immigration — that are relevant in today’s society.

At the various panel discussions and sessions, students were educated on how to understand a neighbor that may speak different languages or have different values than themselves.

“Let’s dream that we can make a better world,” Dr. John Perkins, civil rights activist and pastor, said. “That’s what you guys have to do.”

John Perkins, the founder of the John & Vera Mae Perkins foundation, is a Christian minister and civil rights activist who focuses on Christian community development and sharing the gospel to transform lives.

Perkins spoke to the students during the racial tensions segment of Current Conversions about community development in response to racism. According to Perkins, racism questions God, the wonder of God and the equality of man in God’s image.

“It’s easy to start a racism war,” Perkins said.

He reminded students that they are born of God, and racism is being blind to that. To Perkins, in order to deal will racism, believers have to see one another as image bearers of God and know that they are equally broken.

“Race and reconciliation is the problem itself,” Perkins said. “We can take anyone we don’t like and demonize him.”

In Perkin’s view, people walk around finding things wrong with people to exalt themselves. This is the tension between right and wrong, he said, and reconciliation is the restoration of friendly relations.

“The church is a body of Christ to house the reconcilers to go out and reconcile,” Perkins said.

This is the mission, according to Perkins. He says the church is failing society and making broken people more broken.

“Friendship is the lock around all of God’s communities,” Perkins said. “You get there by love.”

Perkins said people need to build community based on love and caring for people. To do this, he said, everyone could wake up passion by walking in others shoes. Through this, other people’s needs become everyone’s needs and out of that comes community development where people can serve one another.

Liberty senior Isaiah Griffith said he is planning to go into pastoral ministry, and said the things taught through this seminar are things that he wants to apply in his church someday through diverse leadership and allowing the church to be reflective of their community and ministry.

“As I continue to wrestle through racial tensions and racial reconciliation, what he (Perkins) was saying drew me closer to reconciliation God had with us,” Griffith said.

To Perkins, the big question in life is, “What is the source of passion?”. He said passion is going to the people, living with them, loving on them and learning with them. This establishes togetherness.

“Tension is a virtue if you believe that God wants to join us to make dignity affirmed,” Perkins said.

In author Caesar Kalinowski’s segment on how to talk about any hot-button issue, he spoke about where to start in addressing the heart of the issue. When believers get into the world’s culture, they forget to speak the gospel and good news, according to Kalinowski.

“Gospel fluency is to speak and live and enjoy the gospel in every area of life,” Kalinowski said.

He spoke about what is now true of believers and how they get to live that out in their lives.  The issue behind the issue is what we are looking for, according to Kalinowski.

“Most of the time we see an issue as should or shouldn’t,” Kalinowski said. “There’s no should or shouldn’t in the gospel.”

He communicated with the students how these key questions have applied in their lives through hot-button issues. Students added to the discussion about God’s character in the light of the situation, stating that God is faithful, a provider and loving. In addition, Kalinowski discussed where God has proven these things in the student’s lives.

“The fact that our hearts are beating and we’re breathing (means that) God is showing his love on us,” Kalinowski said.

During the discussion, he asked what the real issue is. According to Kalinowski, the bigger issue is seeing what God is doing in the people’s lives. What Christians get to do is work with the children that were brought over illegally and share God’s generosity.

Christians are not living in heaven in America, and they should not share false hope as the greatest provision, but they can meet the needs of others, Kalinowski said.

“Ultimately, who created every immigrant?” Kalinowski asked. “God did.”

Kalinowski said sharing who God is and the light of the situation is better than building a wall or sneaking people in cars.

“The main point is that the gospel is not just about our afterlife, but the gospel is truly good news for absolutely every area of our life,” Kalinowski said. “Our identity, our gender, our parenting, the future, how we select a mate, where we’re going to live.”

Other hot topic conversations held during Current Conversations were what it means to be local, immigration, patriotism and Christianity, sexuality, urban identity, gentrification and understanding the logistics of immigration.

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